LEBANON, OH. – If the two $20,000 elimination heats of the James K. Hackett Memorial on Wednesday (April 20) at Miami Valley are any indication, the $50,000 final on Wednesday (April 27) shapes up as a spectacular showdown. Most of the best Ohio-sired three-year-old male squaregaiters will be facing off against each other in their final tune up before Ohio Sires Stakes action commences on closing day at Miami Valley on Saturday, May 7.
In the first split, Guido Di (Brady Brown) pulled a mild upset over The Mighty Hill (Brett Miller), who is the defending O.S.S. champion who earned $270,365 as a freshman. The winner, a son of Wishing Stone, banked over $99,000 in his rookie season despite an unfortunate sick scratch in the $300,000 championship.
Miller put The Might Hill on the point and dictated fractions of :27.2, :57.4 and 1:25.4 before yielding to pocket sitting Guido Di by three-quarters of a length in deep stretch of the 1:54.3 mile. Brown sat patiently and confidently with the highly regarded Steve Schoeffel trainee, resulting in a new lifetime mark and an $8.60 win mutuel. Guido Di, a $9000 yearling purchase, is owned by the Pennsylvania partnership of Schoeffel, Falton and Zidek.
What The Blaze (Dan Noble), Rose Run Xander (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Slim Jimmy (Tony Hall)—the fastest fifth place finisher—also earned automatic berths in the final from the first elim.
Favored Rose Run Xtra (Noble) set a new personal best of 1:55.3 leading Caviar Gold (Aaron Merriman), Motto (Tyler Smith) and Up Blueberry Hill (Chris Page) across the finish line in the second division. Although the winning time was one second slower than the first division, the halfway point was reached almost two seconds slower setting up an intriguing handicapping challenge for the final.
As was the case in the first split, the eventual runnerup set all the fractions (:28.3, :59.3 and 1:28) before speeding home in :27.3—only to be caught in the final stride by the winning pocket sitter.
Ron Burke trains Rose Run Xtra, who was second in the lucrative O.S.S. championship in 2021 and earned $203,905. The son of Cash Hall is owned by Burke Racing, Hatfield Stable, Knox Services and Jason Melillo.
The Thursday (April 21) card at Miami Valley features a single $20,000 elimination for the sophomore pacing colts with nine of the ten entrants qualifying to return a week later for a $50,000 championship tilt. Surprisingly, there is only one winner of $100,000 in the field as most of the likely heavyweights in this division mysteriously decided to bypass the Hackett this year.
Terminator (Page), who finished second in the $300,000 O.S.S. final as a freshman, will likely be favored but has drawn the dreaded outside No. 9 post position.
Post time is 4:05 p.m.

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